Angela Chirila is a Moldavian Denver-based artist and author who studied English and Italian at USM (State University of Moldova). After finishing university, she lived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and then moved to the United States where she has lived for the past eight years.
She started painting in Denver six years ago and hasn’t looked back. Angela’s exhibition “Angela + Irina Art Show” is currently on display at Gypsy House on South Broadway where her work is displayed alongside Russian artist Irina Lukina.
Cristina Bejan: How do your Moldavian identity and origins shape your art?
Angela Chirilă: Moldova is renowned for its beautiful women and nature, which are both big influences for me. You will see that most of my work are portraits of women and their relationship with nature: water, flowers and many more.
Cristina Bejan: Why did you choose Denver as your artistic home-base?
Angela Chirilă: I was captivated by Denver’s beauty and I absolutely love the mountains. During my first years here, I was in the mountains every weekend. I also found a welcoming and flourishing Moldavian community here, that has felt like a family.
Cristina Bejan: Who is your greatest artistic influence?
Angela Chirilă: I absolutely love contemporary painters. Charmaine Olivia, the Californian-based painter, is my greatest influence. I am also a self-taught painter and focus on female portraits just like Olivia. Poznan-born painter Karol Bak is a great inspiration to me because of his use of surrealism and fantasy. His paintings are characterized by illusiveness and surrealism and bring their viewers into dreamlike world. In terms of historical influences, Van Gogh and Monet have really affected me. Especially Monet because his love for painting nature.
Cristina Bejan: What advice would you give to emerging painters?
Angela Chirilă: Paint. Paint. Paint
Cristina Bejan: I know you paint for fun, what else do you do for fun?
Angela Chirilă: Painting for me is not “for fun” – it is a part of my life, I cannot go one day without it. For fun? I go hiking for fun. I do yoga for fun. I read a lot as well.
Cristina Bejan: What is your current goal for your work?
Angela Chirilă: To get to the New York City galleries! I just want to get better and better. I want my paintings to get more realistic.
Cristina Bejan: What are your career ambitions?
Angela Chirilă: I want to take out the beautiful from inside of the people because people wear a mask almost of all of them. We all have good inside of us but not everyone shows it. In my paintings I do that with the female figures I paint. I want to show how beautiful and strong they are. I want to help people feel good about themselves, about life.
I want my painting to make people dream a little, to escape from reality. I would love to open an art school, to teach art. I would love to write a book about how to become an artist because I am a self-taught artist. To be an artist is not easy. You sacrifice a lot of time. You need a lot of patience. It is a lot of work.
Cristina Bejan: Every artist has a “day job” – what’s yours and how does it fit into your artistic life?
Angela Chirilă: I am a pre-school teacher at a school that is for the Russian and American communities. I love spending time with the kids and we also do a lot of art projects. Painting children is also one of my favorite things because kids have these gentle features and it is hard to catch them but at the same time the end product is always amazing. I usually go to bed late because after work I always paint.
Cristina Bejan: You are an author as well! Please tell us about your current upcoming book.
Angela Chirilă: It’s a children’s book titled “What Make’s Us Happy.” It has a message, not only for kids but for adults, too. It speaks about the little things that make us happy (a hug, a kiss, a ladybug, a sunset in the sky). I wanted to show that sometimes people forget to pay attention to the little things that are actually the most important. The little things are what make our lives. I think that we need to be more present in the now and appreciate every moment and also teach our kids to do so.
Cristina Bejan: You are clearly a bit of a philosopher as well. What advice do you have for the people of the United States and the Republic of Moldova today in 2019?
Angela Chirilă: First of all, you have to do more of what you like and less of what you don’t like. Everyday you need to find at least an hour for the things that sparkle your soul. Second, have more compassion for each other. I think that being a kind and compassionate human being is the most beautiful thing in this world.
Cristina Bejan: I’m new to Denver, tell me where to go, what’s your favorite spot?
Angela Chirilă: North County restaurant in Lowry, Denver!